(I'm not going to quote him again, since Ross did such a good job.)
Brilliant find, Phaeded! It had not occurred to me that the Romance of the Rose
might be part of the background material for the PMB, but there it is--not the rose, but the rest of Papalardie's depiction. The book and the nun's habit is even in the text--but no rose:
The image standing next was well portrayed
To be a hypocrite, but she was named
Pope Holy. She it is who secretly
Contrives to take us unaware, and then
She does not hesitate at any ill.
Outwardly she appears a saint demure,
With simple, humble, pious person's face;
Buit under heaven there's no evil scheme
That she has never pondered in her heart.
The figure well her character did show,
Though she was of a candid countenance.
Well shod and clothed like good convent nun
She held a psalter in her hand, and took
Much pains to make her feigned prayers to God
And call upon all male and female saints.
She was not gay or jolly, but she seemed
Attentive always to perform good works.
She wore a haircloth shirt, and she was lean,
As though with fasting weary, pale, half dead.
To her and to her like will be refused
Entrance to Paradise. The Gospel says
Such folk emaciate their cheeks for praise
Among mankind, and for vainglory lose
Their chance to enter Heaven and see God.
(Robbins Translation, 1962, p. 10)
I think the meaning of "Papalardie" would be clearer if the translation were spelled "Pope-Holy". It is an ironic expression, of course.
I checked other 14th and 15th century illuminations of the same scene, and there is the book, the nun's habit, and a lot more (communion altars, communion cups, etc.), but no rose underfoot(http://romandelarose.org/#search;NARRAT ... ON;g3b.9;0
). Only one comes close: BNF 12595, 15th century, has a flowering plant on the ground in front of her feet. It would be interesting to know in what part of the century that was done.
Since the characterization of "Pope-Holy" is entirely negative, we cannot conclude that the item being crushed is negative. It would more likely be thought of as positive. At that stage in the poem there is no other association for the rose except the title and the general meaning in the culture of the time. The rose was always associated with love and beauty, sacred to Venus, Isis (in Apuleius' Metamorphoses
), etc. Wikipedia says (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_%28symbolism%29
Medieval Christians identified the five petals of the rose with the five wounds of Christ. Roses also later came to be associated with the Virgin Mary. The red rose was eventually adopted as a symbol of the blood of the Christian martyrs.
There are also the "rose windows" of Chartres, etc., but Wikipedia says that they weren't called that until the 17th century (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_windows
). I wonder if that's really true.
In any case, "Pope-Holy" is someone who would keep the Lover from his Beloved, which is obviously what it will represents in a courtly love romance. So stepping on the rose is a foreshadowing of difficulties, as he tries to attain the object of his desire with the name of the Rose.
Given the date of the ms. it remains entirely possible that the artist of Harley 4425 was inspired by the card, if not the PMB then one similarly negative toward what it deems excessive piety. Its similar image, negative meaning plus the "Papelardie" connection (to Papesse) all help make the association. If it is a rosette slipper, it doesn't matter; there are numerous rosettes in the Romance
, such on the Lover's pilgrim's sack (click on the book cover at http://books.google.com/books/about/The ... B-NgrsYqcC
); it is the same thing, even if it is merely a red flower-like something.
I notice that it was done in Bruges, c. 1490-1500. That's very near the time and place of a couple of Bosch paintings that I think have figures inspired by the Popess card. One is a lady apparently performing a black mass in the central panel of "Temptation of St. Anthony" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jeroe ... -21-31.jpg
). The other is the "Stone Operation" lady (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cutting_the_Stone
) with a book on her head. Flanders was one of the earliest places where the Church rooted out Cathars. It has been reported (I forget where) that the Cathars or Bogomils administered the Consolomentum to people with the Gospel of John or some other book on their heads. It is possible that Bosch is satirizing this practice by which a woman would become a perfecta or lady priest in the sect.
In both paintings, I seem to see, unless I am making it up, a Bagat and a Fool as well. In "Stone Operation", the Bagat is the one performing the operation. Traveling slight of hand artists were depicted as doing surgery, as Laurinda Dixon tells us in Bosch
pp. 56ff, and Marcos Filesi once pointed out here (viewtopic.php?f=23&t=384&p=6482&hilit=stone+operation#p6482
). In "Temptation", the man at the table opposite the lady has a pig-face and a trained dog (like in his "Conjurer", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Conjur ... ainting%29
) and behind him a bent over, lame (as in the "Wayfarer", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wayfarer
) man with a lute, a staff, a couple of dogs, and a more formidable creature behind them. There's no Pope or Emperor in these, but he doesn't let them off easy either, as we see in "Haywain", following the wagon into the pit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Haywain_Triptych
So yes, if the lady crushing a rose, in an image meant to be critical of many in the Church (and taken as such by its detractors), was inspired by cards such as ones that might have inspired Bosch, it would have been a good reason to change the card to something else.
The context in which "Pope-Holy" appears is also of interest in the context of the tarot. Right before her in the text is the personification of Old Age, ravaged by Time. And after Pope-Holy comes Poverty, half clothed in rags. And in the next chapter the Lover meets the God of Love himself, introduced by a gorgeous blonde named Ease, after which a more sober-appearing Reason tries to talk sense into him. Then comes the psychomachia of virtues and vices (or a version thereof). Among others, we meet Pope-Holy's son False-Seeming, who in turn is father of Antichrist.
The thing about allegory is that none of these figures are allegories for vices. Allegories are when one thing stands for another. As vices these figures are what they stand for, hence not allegorical. What they stand for, their meaning, is something in a drama on another level, unspoken. Fortunately, the author does say what sort of text he is basing his allegory on, at the beginning of the poem (vv. 4-9):
Well might one cite Macrobius, who wrote
The story of the Dream of Scipio,
And was assured that dreams are ofttimes true.
But if someone would wish to say or think
'Tis fond and foolish to believe that dreams
Foretell the future, he may call me fool.
He is referring to the 5th century Neoplatonist Macrobius, who wrote a commentary on Cicero's "Dream of Scipio", one of the most copied philosophical texts of the Middle Ages. In a famous passage he expounds on the nature of allegory, and the prophetic nature of the symbolism in dreams and elsewhere. After first explaining that it is a "sacrilege" to represent the Supreme God in images, he says (II.17f, p. 86f of Stahl translation):
But in treating of the other gods and the Soul, as I have said, philosophers make use of fabulous narratives; not without a purpose, however, nor merely to entertain, but because they realize that a frank, open exposition of herself is distasteful to Nature, who just as she has withheld an understanding of herself form the uncouth senses of men by enveloping herself in variegated garments, has also desired to have her secrets handled by more prudent individuals through fabulous narratives. Accordingly, her sacred rites are veiled in mysterious representations so that she may not have to show herself even to initiates. Only eminent men of superior intelligence gain a revelation of her truths; the others must satisfy their desire for worship with a ritual drama which prevents her secrets from becoming common.
He then goes on to explain how it is not only Nature who hides herself behind images, but the divinities, too. And wise men, such as Timaeus and even his master "Pythagoras himself", have respected their wishes.
In expounding on Scipio's dream Macrobius then describes the descent and ascent of the soul from and to the One, in the manner of Pythagoras. Likewise Guillaume de Lorris (the author) tells of how he, too, fell asleep and dreamed a prophetic dream. Let me quote from the essay "Allegory in the Roman de la Rose
" by Kevin Brownlee (The Cambridge Companion to Allegory
, 2010, p. 119):
Guillaume's extaordinarily innovative Prologue (vv. 144) deploys the language, structure and truth claims of Macrobian dream discourse in which dreams can be interpreted as having oracular or prophetic vale) to authorize a new combination of courtly erotic lyric subject matter with the narrative procedures of courtly romance narrative. The authorial voice - in a standard romance opening gambit - first evokes his named Latin auctor (v. 7) to "guarantee" (v.6) the power of dreams to "signify" (senefiance, v. 16) future truth in wakng life, to figure couvertement things that later reveal themselves apartement.
Or as Paul put it:
Now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face.
In that sense, the romance is not just a romance, and the rose of the title does not just name a human-imaged dream-beloved and foreshadow a real human beloved, but is a symbol for the divine Beloved.
And just as there is a psychomachia of helper-virtues and hinderer-vices in the Romance of the Rose
, so too are there in the tarot. Macrobius and similar Platonic- and Pythagorean-inspired texts. They were as well known to Italian humanists as French romances were to their employers, a number-laden template upon which many an allegorical drama was constructed. To be continued.
Added next day: Kevin Brownlee's essay quoted above is in The Cambridge Companion to Allegory
, 2010, pp. 119ff. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles and books on the Romance of the Rose
In relation to Macrobius, my guess would be that the rosebuds the narrator sees in the garden are collectively the Macrobian world-soul, which in the Saturnalia
Macrobius identified with Isis, to which, according to Apuleius in Book XI of the Metamorphoses
--another highly popular book in the Middle Ages, and a prime example of Platonic allegory--were sacred to Isis. In the Middle Ages, the Grail served the same function. In the Cary-Yale tarot, if the knight on the World/Fame card is on one level the Grail Knight, and the red castle the Grail Castle, then the card even this early points to the same goal. The Tarot de Marseille does so as well, with the lady in the lunette.
For more on how Macrobius and Platonic/Pythagorean philosophy relate to the early tarot, see Ron Decker, The Esoteric Tarot
and my posts at viewtopic.php?f=12&t=971&start=10#p14194
wth the two following.